Thursday, June 17, 2010

Secret Life of the Emergency Management Coordinator: FIRE! 6.17.10

As the Emergency Management coordinator, I get to plan fire drills, prepare for floods, and answer phone calls in the middle of the night from the alarm company. I've been known to trek down to the campus, dog in tow, in the wee hours of the morning to meet with police -- only to discover that the 45 MPH winds are blowing our 150 year old doors and that no one has broken in.

This morning as I was getting the weather report on TV, I saw a message scroll across the bottom: E. Baltimore St CLOSED in both directions btwn Lloyd St. & Central Ave. Ah, water main break, I thought. I flicked channels and read another message: FIRE between Lloyd & Central. Uh-oh! That’s Watson Street—where the MUSEUM is.

So I grabbed my phone, camera & the dog and walked over to the museum, all the while checking my phone for messages from the alarm company. No messages. Did this mean the alarms weren’t on or is the building safe?! Is it the Koldkiss factory? EB Lights? The old library? What if there was water or smoke damage to the Museum? Who am I calling first? The mental list formed in my head: Facility manager, staff, roofer, activate all collections managers in the area to help triage and salvage the collections….

There were no flames or plumes of smoke on the horizon as I approached from Lombard Street. Two “relief” trucks were blocking the intersection of Baltimore & Central, but they seemed to be giving out food, not putting out fires.

I turned down Watson street and saw some firemen standing on the roof of one of the houses that faces Baltimore street. The siding of the building next door was melted.

The firemen were pulling in their ladder and finishing up… or so I thought.

After giving the firemen water, Deborah (on her first day back from vacation), Daisy and I went to Baltimore street and took a look. One house is totally gutted. Others look like they have some damage. The good news: no one was injured! And, yes, I will be planning a fire drill sometime very soon.

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